Metaculus Help: Spread the word
If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
Will the banana plague reach Latin America?
Since the 1990s, the Tropical Race 4 strain of Panama disease has been destroying banana crops around the world. The fungus (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense) operates as a soil pathogen, infecting the banana plant through its root system. It is easily spread through the transportation of contaminated dirt, and there is no known cure. Tropical Race 4 was first detected in Taiwan and has since spread across southeast Asia as well as northern Australia, Mozambique, Jordan, Pakistan, and Lebanon.
The fast and widespread progression of the disease has a historical precedent. In the first half of the nineteenth century, an earlier variant of Panama disease wreaked havoc on the export banana plantations of Latin America and the Caribbean, which were dedicated to the growth of a single species, the Gros Michel. After the near-extinction of Gros Michel, production shifted to the Cavendish, a more resistant banana. Representing 99% of the global banana market, the monoculture of the Cavendish renders the world’s supply of the fruit particularly vulnerable to diseases like TR4. TR4 has the potential to wipe out not only the Cavendish, but many local varieties of banana and plantain that are crucial to the diets of people around the world.
TR4 has not been detected in the Americas, but scientists warn that it is likely to disseminate further via the spread of contaminated plant material, soil, tools, or footwear. Should it reach Latin America, where at least 70% of the world’s bananas are grown, there is potential for a second global banana crisis.
By start of 2019, will a credible media report emerge that a case of TR4 has been detected in Latin America?
For positive resolution, the infection must be of a banana tree, and should include the reported (or implied) destruction of at least one banana tree in an effort to contain the fungus.
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available. With tachyons you'll even be able to go back in time and backdate your prediction to maximize your points.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
This question is not yet open for predictions.
Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.